The current Renaissance of hard cider production on Hudson Valley farms has focused, historically speaking, on the fact that this was the only alcoholic beverage available most of the year to European settlers of our valley. But it’s a drink with deep roots in the Old World as well. In the mountainous Asturias region of Spain, where more than 200 varieties of apples are grown, traditional sidra is a staple of Basque culture. Cider bars called chigres are to be found everywhere, and cider-tapping festivals take place at certain times of the year, with drinks poured straight from the barrel.
Tart, earthy and dry, sidra is meant to be drunk up quickly, before it settles and loses its sparkle. The “pour” is very important. Patrons at a chigre start out with just a small portion in the bottom of their glasses; waiters roam about refreshing their drinks by “throwing the sidra,” or pouring it from a height of three or more feet to enhance its carbonation.
You can try it out yourself – without the cost of transatlantic airfare – on Sunday, August 11 at Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz. The second annual Seafood Boil and Sidra Fest goes on from noon to 5 p.m. For $27 in advance, $32 at the door, visitors can enjoy a platter of fresh shrimp, mussels, calamari, clams, crab, potato and corn. Wash your meal down with Brooklyn Cider House’s signature Raw cider, “thrown” in traditional Basque style. Other natural sidras by Blackduck Cidery and Graft Cider will be available, along with craft beer and wine; beverages are sold separately.
Twin Star is a dog-friendly venue, located at 155 North Ohioville Road. To order tickets for the Seafood Boil & Sidra Fest, visit https://bit.ly/31lPMOA.
Seafood Boil & Seafood Fest, Sunday, Aug. 11, noon-5 p.m., $32/$27, Twin Star Orchards, 155 N. Ohioville Rd., New Paltz, https://bit.ly/31lPMOA